Jonathan Harkham: My Beloved Chogokin

22 July - 12 August 2021

Mark Borghi in Sag Harbor is pleased to present My Beloved Chogokin, an exhibition of recent works by Jonathan Harkham, on view July 22 - August 4, 2021.


At the heart of Jonathan Harkham’s intensely worked and thickly gestural paintings and expressive drawings lie a passion for the experiential mark and a deep-seated love for Japanese toys of the 1970s and 1980s. Expounding on these motifs with an exploratory marriage of visual languages via studies of Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s 19th century wood block prints, Harkham creates Kabuki like dramas in his studio set against the urban, Downtown Los Angles backdrop of his daily life. 

Painting directly from observation his die cast robots and rainbow colored Kaiju reflect on human soul imploring introspection and provoke an empathetic self-awareness while larger than life characters from Kuniyoshi’s ukiyo-e convey a show of personal strength in the face of adversity.  In some instances, specifically responding to societies re-writing of history to convey biased, cultural idealisms. The subsequent dramas compel the observer to explore the myriads of ever-changing difference and the analogous wonders of human diversity. Simultaneously, while engaging undercurrent motifs such as societal pressures, social injustice and the isolation of modern humans in this era of  COVID-19.

Harkham studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia as well as the New York Studio School, where he received a Certificate in Painting. He has shown his paintings in the United States and abroad, with his most recent solo exhibition, titled ‘City of Mysteries’, in 2019 at Werkartz Gallery in Los Angeles. Jonathan’s work is deeply rooted in his multi-cultural upbringing as well as his extensive travels. The combination of street culture, such as Japanese toys, together with his interest in the history of painting, still remains at the core of his practice. He is currently based in Los Angeles with his wife, and three children, and two dogs.